Thatched Roofs

Have you been looking to get yourself a brand new thatched roof installed? Then look no further than the National Society of Master Thatchers! We are the largest community of thatchers in all of the UK! We help service you by getting you in contact with a master thatcher near you!  

Our master thatchers are the best at what they do. Members of the NSMT are fully prepared to serve you with thatching installation, maintenance, repairs, re-thatching, re-ridging, as well as providing the most up to date thatching information and education. The NSMT also aims to keep thatching’s heritage, and this is why we offer apprenticeship services for a brand new generation of master thatchers. 

If you need any information regarding our thatching experts, give us a call at 01530 222954 or reach out to us by email at, and we will get back to you at our earliest convenience. 

Beginners Guide to Thatched Roofs  

Thatching is a profession that has been passed down for centuries. Primarily known in the European regions and specifically in the UK, thatching is the building of a roof from dried raw material such as straw, water reed, and palm branches. The dry material is made to form a roof in a triangular shape to help water slide off the sides when it rains.  

When you get in contact with the NSMT, we will help you get in contact with a master thatcher near you! When your master thatcher is at your doorstep, you can expect only the best of service! The master thatcher will beforehand agree with you on what exactly it is that you need. The master thatcher will be ready with their equipment and high-level skills. Maintenance and inspection go hand in hand, and repair and re-ridging can follow suit if needed.  

You can expect the best from the NSMT! To keep your property looking at its best and to keep your thatched roof in the best possible condition, then you will have to contact a master thatcher once in a while. Since the raw material differs in longevity, it is essential that you know all the information related to your specific thatch. But worry not, since our master thatchers will ensure you are informed with the most updated information and knowledge regarding your thatched roof! 


What are Thatched Roofs?  

Thatched roofs are roofs made explicitly with vegetation and such raw material. It is a building technique that is learned through mastery and is passed down through generations. There are many different methods described, most specifically in Europe within the last three hundred years! Yet, thatching as a practice has been seen throughout the world while using other raw materials. For example, in some of the equatorial countries, they used palm leaves and sugar canes for roofs.  

The popularity of these thatched roofs is the highest in areas like the UK, Germany and the Netherlands. Around sixty thousand homes, cottages, and buildings have thatched roofs in the UK! The NSMT’s efforts to maintain and conserve these historic and beautiful buildings remain and take significant effect till this very day! A well thatched roof made with straw thatch can last for fifty years, more or less depending on the skill of the thatcher.  

Thatched roofs are made from many different materials, with the most common materials used being water reed, straw and combed wheat. A master thatcher will help you decide on the type of material that is best suited for you! The thatched roof is made of a base and a ridge which is the highest point of the roof. To preserve and maintain historical elements of the agricultural architecture of the UK is the NSMT’s greatest mission! Keep on reading to find out if you would like to get a thatched roof or know more about our services! 


Will a Thatched Roof be better for my house?  

People have used thatching and thatched roofs for hundreds of years to keep them safe in their cottages and homes. To this very day, many people worldwide rely on their thatched roofs for protection and comfort from the outside weather, such as harsh sunlight and heavy rain. Choosing to install a thatched roof is a big commitment as it is unique in nature. Master thatchers from the NSMT will provide the best skills available to ensure that the work is impeccable. Many people in the UK think about owning a thatched roof home, property or cottages in a peaceful village. While thatched roof homes are attractive and offer several advantages, they also have some drawbacks. 

Thatched roofs don’t necessarily have to be worse or better than other traditional homes. Thatching has been used for many years, so it has to be beneficial! Here are some of the advantages of having a thatched roof.   

  • Insulation 
  • Durability 
  • Good for the environment 
  • Unique look 

Although there are many benefits, thatched roofs also come with downsides that include the following: 

  • Maintenance 
  • High risk for fire  
  • Insurance prices

Thatched Roofs on Cottages  

Thatch roofs are some of the oldest forms of architecture in Europe. The NSMT often helps direct clients to master thatchers that work on cottages. Cosy and comfortable cottages are highly demanded for their beautiful thatch work, although in the 1800s they were seen as signs of poverty as the only material available as thatching material. Currently, thatched roof cottages are seen as some of the most desired holiday destinations! The beauty in design leads many to luxury holiday thatched roof cottages for rural retreats! 


How much does a Thatched Roof Cost?  

Thatch roofs and thatched roof properties have been highly desired in recent years! Many have come to see how beautiful a thatched roof property can be and are looking to install a thatch roof on their own countryside home! Others already have a thatched roof and are trying to maintain and take good care of it too. However, installation, maintenance, and repair are costly as the master thatcher provides a high-quality service. So exactly how much will a thatch roof project cost you? 

The cost of thatching is typically determined by the size of the roof to be thatched. Thatchers work on an established term of size, a “square” of the roof’s size equaling 100 square feet per “square”. The usual roof size is 6–12 square feet. However, some homes have 4 square feet, and others have 80 square feet. In short, the larger the roof, the more work it would need, thus the more it would cost you. Moreover, the cost of the roof will also differ depending on other factors such as: 

  • The shape of the roof 
  • Design desired 
  • Type and shape of the ridge 
  • The need for wiring 
  • Type of materials needed as a whole ( thatch material, metals, timber etc.) 

Because thatching is a highly sought-after and specialised craft, it may be quite costly. Depending on the size and complexities of your roof, you may expect to pay around £15,000 and £30,000 for a thatched roof. The cost of installing a new thatch roof is likely to be similar to that of replacing an old one. A new thatched roof may cost you at least around £22,500. If you don’t want a whole new roof, each square will cost you at least around £850. You can estimate the entire cost of constructing your thatch roof using this method. 

Thatched Roofing Options  

There are so many different options when it comes to choosing what your thatched roof will look like! The customisable options could vary from the type of material you select, the kind of ridge you want, and the general style of the thatch roof that you would like to have! The NSMT will make sure to help you find the perfect master thatcher that will make you the ideal thatch roof! 

There are many different types of thatch material one could use when thatching a roof. The material will differ in properties such as longevity and durability as well as appearance. Water reed is one of the most widely used thatch materials within the UK! Water reeds give off a more straightforward design and has less of a rounding shape than other thatch materials. Thatch roofs made from straw material are also different. The long straw is a straw that is grown specifically for thatching. The long straw gives off a more shaggy appearance.  

Another thatching variation is the type of ridge you want the thatching master to install for you. First of all, you need to know what a thatch roof ridge is. The ridge is the highest point on the thatch roof, and the thatching technique varies based on the material, local traditional style, or of course, your vision or preference! You can customise the thatch roof to your liking as our thatching experts can bring your ideal thatch roof to life! 

A block ridge is created by placing a 4-inch thick block of thatch on top of the roof. This might be a plain ridge or a patterned decorative ridge. The design pattern can be scallops shaped, diamonds, and anything else with an upstand can be considered ornamental. If you have a design in mind, our thatching experts will be sure to make it possible! 

A turnover, wrap over, or buttup ridge is another name for a flush ridge. These ridges are flush with the main coat work and are generally decorated with a wiring pattern around them. Longstraw roofs are often linked with these ridges. However, a thatching master can make it work on any desired roof! 

What Materials are used for Thatched Roofs?  

A thatch roof utilises different types of material to form and shape the roof. The thatch roof is mainly made of dried or hollow vegetation. Most commonly, the materials used are water reed, straw or what is more commonly named “long straw”, and combed wheat. 

These different types of materials make up the core of a thatch roof. These are the most commonly used and definitely the best. The differences vary from longevity, durability, and of course, aesthetics. You don’t need to worry about making the decision as our master thatchers will guide you and help you select the best material to form your thatch roof! 

All of the materials are grown here in the UK and harvested by hand! This makes thatching as a profession and business highly eco-friendly! 


Water Reed  

For generations, water reed has been utilised as a thatching material in the UK. In Europe, it is also the most common thatching material. Water Reed may be found in Austria, China, France, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Turkey, and Ukraine, among other locations.  

Water reeds may be found in all areas where there are reed beds near rivers. There is always variation in the material from length to diameter, as well as the degree of tapering, regardless of where it originates from. All of these criteria influence which material bundles are used on the roof. As a result, it is up to one of our master thatchers to skillfully use the appropriate material for your thatch roof. 

Reed beds in river regions are home to water reeds. Water reeds should be harvested every year in order to produce good thatching material. This is because if it is left much longer, new growth will grow from the bottom between the older water reeds, and it will be bent. So for the best thatching results, you’ll need straight water reeds. The yearly water reed harvest is carried out in several ways in order to obtain the best straight material that is not aged and brittle. 

An eco-friendly method is harvesting and cutting the water reeds by hand. However, this is labour intensive and relatively slow. Another method is to mechanically harvest water reed and place the water reeds in piles to dry up in the sun. 

Water Reed roofs are generally thought to be the longest lasting of the thatching materials. Typically, water reed roofs last between 25 – 40 years, and with great maintenance, water reed roofs can last up to 60 years! 


Straw Roofs  

Longstraw is made from straw that is grown specifically for thatching. Long straw is a hollow-stemmed variety ideal for thatching! 

Long straw thatched roofs have a shaggy look. Around the eaves and barges of the structure, these roofs frequently feature a spar design. 

Long straw is traditionally made in the same manner as Combed Wheat Reed. Long straw is specially grown and then cut with a binder and tied into piles that are left to dry in the sun. 

In the UK, a few experts are currently growing thatching straw. In addition, there are a few thatchers that cultivate their own straw as well. Binders, threshing machines, and combers are among the antique machinery used in traditional manufacture. Many of these devices have been around for more than 70 years! 


Combed Wheat  

Finally, the last of the primary materials used for thatching is called combed wheat reed. Combed wheat reed is mainly used to form and construct the ridge of the thatch roofing.  

Wheat reed varieties are grown mainly for use as thatching straw. Combed Wheat Reed is traditionally made by cutting wheat with a binder and binding it into sheaves, which are then dried in the sun. 

The grains are subsequently removed from the sheaves using a threshing machine or drum. The wheat reeds were then placed in a threshing machine with a comber on top, combing the straws and removing any grains, leaves, or broken straws. 


Maintenance of Thatch Roofs  

If you want to preserve your thatched roofing in the most satisfactory possible condition, you’ve come to the right place! Our expert thatchers at the NSMT provide the best quality and service for maintaining your thatched roofs. As already stated, routine maintenance and inspection are required to keep these thatched properties in good working order. The owner of the thatched property or roof, as well as one of our expert thatchers, both can contribute to the maintenance of the thatched roof. 

The thatched roof should be inspected every 10 to 15 years. Inspecting the roof to make sure it is completely dry is essential so that you don’t find damp spaces. In addition, the best research and practice of thatching recommends that the ride of the thatch should be changed every 10-15 years. Both the thatched property owner and one of our master thatchers can contribute to the maintenance of thatched roofs. 


How long do Traditional Thatched Roofs last?  

Thatching a roof with a different material is what determines the lifespan of the roof. Many various contributing factors affect the lifespan of the thatching work, such as : 

  • Quality of the material. 
  • Skills of the thatching master (Thatching Technique). 
  • Natural causes (Humidity, Rain, Tree Proximity). 
  • Pollutants. 
  • Damage from pests. 

A rough estimate of how long different thatching materials last is : 

  • Water Reed – 25 – 40+ years. 
  • Combed Wheat Reed – 25 – 35 years. 
  • Long straw – 15 – 25 years. 
  • Ridge – 10 – 15 years. 

It is very important to know that taking good care of your thatch roofing will definitely provide a longer lifespan for the thatch. This is why as mentioned previously, the NSMT highly recommends that you get the aid of one of our master teachers to help keep your roof in the best shape possible with frequent maintenance and inspection! 


When should I replace my Thatched Roof?  

An adequately built thatched roof made of high-quality materials is likely to last for up to 50 years! The ridges, on the other hand, are likely to require maintenance every 8 to 10 years. This will still depend on the skill of the thatcher, the quality of the material and the care that goes into maintaining the roofing. 

Rethatching the roofing will also cost you around the same price for installing the thatch roofing in the first place. Replacing the thatch will be hassle-free when it comes to the outstanding thatching master at the NSMT! 

The NSMT makes sure that you can reliably re-thatch any of your historical and luxurious thatch roofing with the aid of one of our master thatchers! We will make sure to preserve the beauty and heritage of these historical and precious properties! 


What are the Benefits?  

A thatch roof is not only for its appearance. The thatch roof provides you with many benefits, which include : 

  • Insulation 
  • Waterproof  
  • Durability 


Why Choose NSMT for Thatched Roofs?  

Thatching is a profession that has been passed down through the generations! However, we are pretty proud of the society and community that the NSMT has developed over the years. To be a master at thatching, you’ll need a variety of skills and experience, as well as a lot of knowledge and understanding about the art and method of thatching. 

You can be confident that when a thatching expert arrives to assist you with any of your thatching needs, we will provide the most excellent thatched roof service in the UK! Our master thatchers and we offer maintenance, inspections, re-thatching, re-ridging, repairs, fire and pest control education, and thatch insurance in the event of a mishap. So when it comes to thatch roof services, we are undoubtedly the best at conserving the heritage of the UK countryside! 

Contact Us 

Are you looking for a thatch roof to give your countryside cottage a more traditional and luxurious look? Then look no further than the National Society of Master Thatchers! The NSMT is the largest community of thatching professionals in the UK! We specialise in helping you find the best thatching expert near your location so you can get in contact and begin your thatching projects! 

Our mission is to pass down this traditional craft from generation to generation to maintain the heritage of the UK historical buildings. Out thatching experts will serve you with thatch installation, maintenance, repairs, as well as teachings and education regarding how to take great care of your thatch roof! 

The NSMT has been a running community since the 1940s, and with our apprentice and conservation programs, we aim to keep thatching and its heritage alive and healthy! So don’t hesitate for a second, give us a call on 01530 222954 or reach out to us by email at for any of your thatching enquiries and needs. 

National Society of Master Thatchers